HC Deb 05 July 1972 vol 840 cc540-1
17. Mr. Duffy

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will advise local authorities to take steps to keep together specialised work teams such as the West Riding County Council land clearance and dereliction team during the period of reorganisation of local government.

Mr. Graham Page

There are many specialist teams operating in local government which should be kept together during and upon reorganisation, and my right hon. Friend intends to issue guidance on the ways in which this might be done.

Mr. Duffy

I thank the Minister. Is he aware that there is anxiety in the West Riding not only that the Minister should devise an interim solution so as not to prejudice the very important work on which a very fine team of specialists of this kind, with its support staffs, is at present engaged, but that he should also look forward to the time when the area is divided between the Sheffield and Leeds metropolitan areas, so that the team can be preserved for that time? At the moment the team divides its work as to60 per cent. in the South Yorkshire area and 40 per cent. in the West Yorkshire area.

Mr. Page

I entirely agree with what the hon. Gentleman has said about the West Riding County Council reclamation unit. The unit is responsible for approximately half the reclamation to be undertaken in the Yorkshire and Humberside region up to 1980, and unless it continues in some form it will be impossible to achieve the target set by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State of reclaiming all major derelict sites within 10 years. Clauses 101 and 113 of the Local Government Bill afford the opportunity for the continuation of the unit.